then the bomb hit! Our largest customer was Tim Horton's of Canada, who was doing about 2.5 million lbs with us, and they wanted to purchase us! So, my job was to provide all the information the company needed to get a real selling price for the business. The deal was supposed to be all cash which would have been great for my owner. The whole kit and kaboodle, the business, the building, everything! there was only one question I had, would I have a job after it was all said and done! I was assured that I would run the business daily under the supervision of one of the Tim horton executive's, who would be overseeing the operations, but it was mine to run. I would be given a NEW contract of employment and everything would be good to go. So here I was, sitting there, sending them all the details of the business with a promise, I would be there guy! RIGHT. Because that's the way business works, correct. Don't get me wrong, I provided them with everything that was asked, budgets, gross margin analysis, production capacities, even a list of capital improvements to increase output. P&L's, audited statements the whole shabang!
So we fly up to Toronto. Oakville is there headquarters, just a stone's throw outside of Toronto, and we have a meeting. It could be one of the strangest meetings I have ever been a part of. Here is a guy, Ron Joyce, who built an empire, 1,000 store to be exact from nothing. We arrive, my owner and me and we are informed that Ron is in the back loading trucks with his employees! OK. Then the meeting starts about the sale of the business, and my owner stands up and starts screaming and pointing his finger at Mr Joyce, saying, "hey I don't have to sell you! We are who we are and you know what we are about"! I am absolutely mortified! Here is Ron Joyce, his executive staff, and it is just me and my owner, and he decides to go on the offensive! Now, I don't really know to this day if a low ball offer came in and he was disappointed, or it was just a matter of a guy coming to grips with selling something his father started back in 1928, and meant more to him than he even knew. I still don't know, but I can assure you it was very strange indeed.
Needless to say a few months go by and, the hot button turned icy cool. I got a strange phone call from one of their executive team, that they were really re-thinking the whole matter. I was somewhat relieved in a strange way. But then again, I kept thinking, well if he would consider selling the business then, at its height by the way, where does that leave me, down the road? I was torn and a little disappointed. You know, after that meeting in Toronto, we went back to the hotel, and my owner was visibly upset. I still don't know why, but he was. He is not a drinker at all, but he makes me go to the bar with him where he proceeds to order 3 double wild Turkey's?? I was in shock. But you know what, he started talking about his life, and his children and how his first wife died at 38 of a brain tumor, and the kids were small, and he used to bring them to work. Then it hit me. This guy is defined by this business. It was one of the most heartfelt conversations I have ever been involved with. I finally saw the man, not the boss. I admired the man,and for me there on, I would take a bullet for him. No questions asked.